The Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC) is announcing the launch of an Advisory Group that will provide high-level strategic advice to Institute leadership across all core areas of focus. The eight Founding Members include leading practitioners from diverse fields within the energy and climate sector. They are drawn from EPIC’s extensive network of experts. The chair of the Advisory Group is Jeff Currie (PhD ’96), the global head of Commodities Research in Global Investment Research (GIR) at Goldman Sachs. Peter Gutman (MBA ’90), advisor at Blue Bear Capital, will serve as co-chair.
Of the appointment, Currie says: “UChicago and EPIC are at the forefront of producing frontier, data-driven research on the most challenging energy and climate issues of our time, impacting the conversation and global landscape for confronting these issues. I’m thrilled to be working with EPIC to help them further their impact through real-world insights.”
Currie and Gutman will work closely with EPIC Director Michael Greenstone.
“EPIC’s mission is to produce and disseminate pioneering research that informs society’s energy and climate policy choices while also molding a new generation of leaders,” says Greenstone, the Milton Friedman Distinguished Service Professor in Economics. “We are best able to provide real-world impact when we work together with practitioners, including our alumni and friends. Their real-world experience helps identify new areas where research would be especially valuable, and to identify key decisionmakers who find EPIC’s work useful. We’re thrilled to announce the Founding Members of our new Advisory Group and to work with them to advance EPIC’s mission.”
The full list of Founding Members includes:
Jeff Currie (Chair) (PhD ’96) is the global head of Commodities Research in Global Investment Research (GIR) at Goldman Sachs. He is responsible for conducting research on commodity market dynamics in the context of corporate risk management programs, short and long term commodity investment strategies and asset allocation. Jeff is also a member of the GIR Client and Business Standards Committee, Growth Markets Executive Group and Macro Executive Committee. Jeff earned an A.B. from Pepperdine University. Jeff earned an A.M and Ph.D. in Economics from The University of Chicago (1996).
“UChicago and EPIC are at the forefront of producing frontier, data-driven research on the most challenging energy and climate issues of our time, impacting the conversation and global landscape for confronting these issues. I’m thrilled to be working with EPIC to help them further their impact through real-world insights.”
Peter Gutman (Co-Chair) (MBA ’90) serves on the investment committee at Equator, an African climate tech fund, is a senior advisor to Blue Bear Capital, a US digital energy venture fund and is an active angel investor in the climate area. Peter has over 30 years of global business experience and has worked in the energy sector for the last 15 years. He was a founding member of Gore Street Capital’s Energy Storage Fund, ran the energy investing business at Standard Chartered Bank, and prior to that, was a Managing Director at Goldman Sachs working across communications, media & Tech, the firm’s principal investment area. Peter has an engineering degree from the University of Michigan, an MBA the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business (1990) and an MSc from the London School of Economics.
“As an alumnus of the business school, I appreciate the depth of expertise Chicago has in the power of markets and the broad applicability of economic principles to solve a range of policy issues. Given the importance of pricing the externality of carbon to the energy transition, I think we all feel Chicago can play an important role in the evolution of [energy/climate] policy and carbon markets. As part of our leadership of EPIC advisory board, we plan to strengthen the school’s access to, and engagement with, the energy industry and relevant financial [actors] to ensure EPIC initiatives are robust and as actionable as possible.”
Daniela Fusco Alcaro (MBA ’06) is the co-founder and co-CEO of Stima Energia, a Brazilian energy trading company established in 2017. Daniela is also a co-founder of two other clean energy startups in Brazil dedicated to solar generation and energy retail business and an angel investor of an energy tech dedicated to metering. Daniela is also a member of the Brazilian Energy Traders Association Advisory Board. She graduated with an MBA from the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business (2006). Daniela is also a member of the Becker Friedman Institute Advisory Council at the University of Chicago.
“I am honored to be part do EPIC´s Advisory Council, I believe its team has been doing an amazing job on climate change research causing a significant impact on global environment. I hope to contribute to EPIC´s discussions by sharing my experience and knowledge on the energy sector in Brazil, a country that stands out for its strong generation of renewable energy and a pro-active position on global environmental discussions.”
Ted Brandt (MBA ’87) is Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Marathon Capital, an investment banking boutique founded in 1999, focused on the global Energy and Infrastructure markets. Ted earned his B.A. in Economics from Oberlin College, where he is now a Trustee. He graduated with an MBA from the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business (1987). Ted is also a member of the Becker Friedman Institute Advisory Council at the University of Chicago.
“As a graduate of Booth, father of a recent graduate of the College and a member of BFI, I am pleased to be a founding member of EPIC’s Advisory Council. Marathon Capital is the largest Investment Bank in the world, fully dedicated to the clean economy and we know EPIC will continue to be relevant across the world.”
Mark Florian (MBA ‘82) is the head of BlackRock Global Infrastructure Funds (“BGIF”), starting the BGIF franchise in 2008. Since inception, Mr. Florian has overseen all of the Fund’s activities, including overall strategy, portfolio construction, investment origination, structuring, execution, monitoring, and exits. The BGIF team manages approximately $14 billion in capital commitments. The team has created over 45 portfolio companies across the globe, which have had a particular focus on energy transition, including businesses in renewables, carbon capture, energy efficiency, renewable and sustainable fuels, as well as energy storage. Prior to BGIF, Mr. Florian was a Partner at Goldman Sachs, where he had a 23-year career. Mr. Florian holds a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and Economics, magna cum laude, from Duke University and an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago.
“The energy transition is a complex puzzle, that involves trillions of capital investment and new technologies to truly transform our economies globally towards a cleaner future. EPIC will play an important role in providing balanced research and ideas that can make a huge impact as we tackle this important issue into the future.”
Anup Jacob (AB ’96) is a co-founder and managing partner of Activate Capital Partners, which invests in the sustainable, resilient transformation of the global economy. Activate manages approximately $700 million in capital and has invested in 23 portfolio companies across the US and Europe, which address climate and important 21st century challenges by accelerating decarbonization and strengthening our shared systems and infrastructure.
Prior to Activate, Anup was a managing partner at Masdar, a subsidiary of Mubadala, Abu Dhabi’s sovereign wealth fund; focused on sustainable investments advancing renewable energy globally. Prior to Masdar, he was a co-founder and partner at Virgin Green Fund, the green investment vehicle for Richard Branson’s Virgin Group, a growth equity firm investing in the renewable energy and resource efficiency sectors. Prior to Virgin, Anup was a partner at TPG-Aqua where he focused on investments in the water sector. Anup holds a degree in Economics, with honors, from the University of Chicago.
“EPIC and Chicago have a well known formula of producing world class research and clear, thoughtful publications with the goal of having practical real world impact. Among the active participants in the climate arena that would benefit from knowledge and access to the EPIC platform is the Climate and Sustainability Venture community. I am looking forward to helping EPIC build that bridge to Venture and Growth capital investors.”
James Janoskey (MBA ’94) is a Managing Director of JP Morgan in the Investment Banking division, based in London. He is Global Co-Head of the Energy Group. James has over 20 years of international advisory and capital markets experience and has worked on a wide range of assignments, including mergers and acquisitions, strategic advisory, and lead managed equity, debt, and leveraged finance transactions. His experience includes transactions involving clients across the Energy sector – Majors, Integrateds, NOCs, E&P, R&M, LNG and OFS. He graduated with an MBA from the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business (1994).
“EPIC has established itself as a thought leader on the key issues related to addressing global climate change and the energy transition. It’s critical to have an institution like EPIC providing frontier thinking and fact-based research to assist in finding efficient solutions. I am honored to be part of the Advisory Board and look forward to being able to provide the perspectives and connectivity from the global energy ecosystem.”
Jennifer Pomerantz (AB ’01) serves as chair of the Acquisition Committee and is a member of the Executive Committee of the board of NOG, a NYSE listed energy investment company. She served as Managing Director and Portfolio Manager of the Global Natural Resources strategy for JPM-Highbridge and Citadel investing across global energy, power, and infrastructure companies. She was the founder, Chairperson and CEO of American Natural, a lifestyle brand of convenience stores and fuel logistics solutions, providing a choice of healthier food and alternative fuel. Jennifer earned an A.B. in Economics and Political Science from the University of Chicago (2001) where she wrote her thesis on oil prices.
“EPIC is a thought leader in energy policy thanks to its differentiated vision and rigorous analytical approach. I am excited to support EPIC’s efforts to advance pragmatic policy solutions to meet our essential need for affordable, secure and responsible energy supply.”